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Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley: An Expert Trainer's Prediction

Joseph Herron Updated
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With the news of Lamont Peterson choosing to ink a fight deal with Amir Khan and Golden Boy Promotions instead of facing Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez in a Top Rank sponsored four fighter tournament, Bob Arum & Co. have anchored their hopes for a successful 2012 around "Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO) versus Timothy Bradley (28-0, 13 KO)"; which is set to take place on June 9th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.

Based on Manny Pacquiao's controversial performance against Juan Manuel Marquez last year, many fight scribes are picking "Desert Storm" to pull-off what would widely be viewed as the surprise upset.

Are journalists and pundits scrutinizing Pacquiao's last outing with an overly officious eye, or is the 33 year old truly showing the signs of an aging champion?

Expert fight trainer James Gogue analyzes the WBO Welterweight Championship match-up to find out whether or not Manny Pacquiao fans have a legitimate reason to be concerned.

"Manny Pacquiao is truly an international star and whomever he decides to fight is going to be a huge event. Timothy Bradley has established himself as a name in the sport with wins over Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Junior Witter, and Kendall Holt."

"Is this fight going to generate the kind of intrigue that a Mayweather bout would? Of course not, but this remains one of the better match-ups that could be made in boxing. It's arguably the best 140 pound fighter in boxing facing arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world."

"This is going to be a great clash because Timothy Bradley is the epitome of a fighter. He is a very dedicated, disciplined, and hard-working fighter who uses intelligence in the ring to adapt and overcome whatever adversity he's faced with."

"During his last fight against Casamayor, Tim Bradley methodically broke down the Cuban veteran over the course of 8 rounds, knocking him down in rounds 5, 6, and 8. He applied intelligent pressure while using long touch jabs to set up the beautiful digging right hooks to the body which eliminated Casa's lateral movement and ultimately set up his power shots to the head."

Pictured: Timothy Bradley, right, mixes it up with Luis Carlos Abregu.
Photo courtesy of HBO


"Although it was against an older and less effective version of Casamayor, Timothy Bradley did a masterful job of executing his gameplan and really displayed how smart and resourceful a fighter he truly is during his fight against Casa in November of last year."

"Bradley doesn't look overtly impressive because he seems to just do enough to win, but he's been ultra-effective against the opposition that he's faced and remains an undefeated fighter. He gives his opponents just enough head movement to make them miss, and he gives them just enough footwork to keep his opponents off balance. Unfortunately for Timothy Bradley, no one whom he has faced will serve as an accurate gauge as to how well he will do against Manny Pacquiao."

"If Bradley fights Manny Pacquiao the way he has fought everyone else up to this point, he won't have much success and might not even finish the fight."

"In previous fights against less tenacious fighters than Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley came right at his opponents and busted them up with speed and precision. If he comes right into the line of fire with Manny, he's going to get picked apart with speed and movement; just like Pacquiao did against Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito."

"Bradley did show his ability to box effectively against Holt, Campbell, and Peterson, but none of those very capable fighters are the effective aggressors that the Pac-man is."

Although James Gogue recognizes the dangers of facing a great fighter like Timothy Bradley, the expert strategist and boxing trainer believes on June 9th Manny Pacquiao will show the fight public why he is the biggest global star in boxing.

Pictured: Joshua Clottey, left, absorbs punishment from Manny Pacquiao
Courtesy: Top Rank Boxing/Chris Farina


Manny Pacquiao's Arsenal

"Freddie Roach has done a marvelous job of cultivating the incredible talent that is Manny Pacquiao. Freddie has improved three vital aspects of the Filipino icon's fight game to help make him the global superstar that he is today."

"The area in which Manny is most improved is his overall footwork. Pacquiao has the ability to quickly go in and out of an opponent's defense at angles, and he shifts laterally so quickly after he fires off a 3 or 4 punch combination that his opponent can't fire off a counter effectively."

"Right now, Manny Pacquiao has the best and most athletic footwork in boxing. His ability to change directions so quickly is uncanny. He also has the ability to multi-task on the inside and duck out of harm's way while firing off his own arsenal of punches. Just like Floyd, you can't really prepare for a fighter like Manny effectively because no one can truly replicate Manny's fight style in the gym."

"The second variable that is most improved in Manny's fight game would be the overall strength in Pacquiao's lead right hand. Ten years ago, Manny Pacquiao didn't work behind an effective jab or throw a lead right hook. He was solely dependent upon his straight left hand to win fights."

"Now, Pacquiao has a solid jab and probably the best counter right hook in boxing. He also throws a lethal right hook to the body as well as a beautiful right uppercut which ultimately sets up his left hand bomb down the middle. It's almost impossible to defend against for all three minutes of every round."

"The third area which is most improved is his punch arsenal and combination punching on the inside.

It used to be that Manny Pacquiao only had one punch or the straight one-two at best. Now, he's throwing a wide variety of combination punches to keep his opponents off balance."

"Lead left hand, right hook, left uppercut, and then Manny will pivot while shoving his opponent with his last punch off to the side to keep him out of position to counter effectively. His combinations are so creative now and they come at opponents from such odd angles. He mixes his arsenal up extremely well and isn't just doing the same thing all the time. It's almost impossible to anticipate."

Can Marquez's Performance be Replicated?

Most fight fans and boxing pundits feel that Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez designed the blueprint on how to exploit the weaknesses of Manny Pacquiao during their last fight together on November 13th, 2011.

Trainer James Gogue extends his best wishes and lots of luck to the "Desert Storm" if he thinks that he can easily replicate what Juan Manuel Marquez brought to the ring that evening.

Pictured in foreground: Manny Pacquiao, right, lands his right-hand lead against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third bout.
Courtesy: Top Rank Boxing/Chris Farina


"To those thousands of people, including Tim Bradley, who seem to think that Juan Manuel Marquez's performance can be easily duplicated are forgetting one crucial variable in the equation: the mental aspect of the fight game."

"Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the most intelligent fighters in the sport as well as being a fearless counter-puncher who doesn't mind sacrificing himself to land his combinations on the inside. Most counter-punchers don't have the daredevil mindset that Marquez possesses. Most counter-punchers, especially American fighters, like to stick and move."

"Not Marquez. He wants to prove to his opponent that he is not only the smartest man in the ring, but also the toughest. He will stand in the pocket and trade after counter-punching effectively. Most American fighters like Bradley think safety first and aren't willing to sacrifice themselves to get into an opponent's head."

"Juan Manuel Marquez was in Manny's head that night and it didn't come easy. It took Juan Manuel Marquez going toe to toe with the Pac-Man for 24 grueling rounds to build that respect and unfortunately for Bradley, he doesn't quite have that much time to implement that respect."

Timothy Bradley: Keys to Victory

Although Gogue views Manny Pacquiao as a tall order for any fighter, he does see a clear strategy that could be effective for Bradley.

"Bradley obviously has to do the usual things when facing a southpaw fighter. He has to keep his lead foot outside of Manny Pacquiao's lead right foot in order to line up that straight right hand bomb. He also has to keep moving away from Pacquiao's power hand and always circle left. He cannot move straight back or to his right or he will be moving into a dangerous area."

"To be effective against Manny Pacquiao, Tim has to close that distance and apply intelligent pressure on Pacquiao by using the touch jab to the body and head while moving consistently to the left. He has to fire off that straight right hand early and earn that respect within the first few rounds of the fight. Most fighters who have tried to counter Pac-man after he lets his hands go have been knocked out."

"Bradley has to close the distance and go to Manny Pacquiao's body to slow down that lateral movement. He must attempt to smother Pac's offense while stalling his arsenal with a solid body attack. But, he's going to have to close that distance in a hurry. He cannot just try to come straight in or he will get knocked out like Ricky Hatton."

"Bradley is also going to have to put combinations together in order to be effective against Manny Pacquiao. One punch at a time doesn't intimidate the Filipino congressman. What's going to work against a southpaw is the lead right hand followed up with the left hook to the body and head; or when he's in close quarters launch the right uppercut, left hook, followed up with a strong right hand."

Pictured: Timothy Bradley, right, and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum
Courtesy: Top Rank Boxing/Chris Farina


Manny Pacquiao: Keys to Victory

James Gogue feels that Manny Pacquiao simply has to be 'Manny Pacquiao' in order to be successful on June 9th.

"Manny has to do what he does best. He should use his masterful footwork to keep his opponents off balance. He has to step in, fire off his creative combinations, and quickly step out and underneath harm's way while moving away at angles."

"Also, Pacquiao must set up the straight left hand by countering Bradley's jab with that beautiful right hook that he can throw over or underneath an opponent's jab or left hook. It's so precise and lethal. If he can catch Bradley with the right hook, straight left combination early, it could be all over in a hurry."

Even though the experienced trainer always recognizes the possibility of the surprise upset in any fight, James Gogue feels that a victory for Bradley is highly unlikely at this stage of their respective careers.

Pictured front and center: WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao strikes a pose after his third bout with Juan Manuel Marquez
Courtesy: Top Rank Boxing/Chris Farina


"Manny Pacquiao is amazing. He throws his punches with such sharp, crisp, precision, and explodes with his shots. Looking at Bradley's entire body of work, I just don't think he'll be prepared to deal with everything that Manny Pacquiao brings to the fight based on his resume. He's going to be drastically stepping up in class and it's very difficult to prepare for this kind of challenge when his best opponents have been Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander."

"Those guys are very good fighters, but they're not Manny Pacquiao."

"I favor Manny Pacquiao to win impressively in this fight."

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